USA gymnast tests positive for Covid-19 in fresh Olympics drama

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·4-min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Pictured here, USA's female artistic gymnastics team for the Tokyo Games. Pic: Getty
One member of the USA gymnastics team has tested positive for Covid-19 and another is also self-isolating. Pic: Getty

A member of the USA's female gymnastics team has been forced into isolation after testing positive for Covid-19 at an Olympic training camp.

The teenage female artistic gymnast became the first American athlete to test positive at the Games, with a teammate also isolating as a result. 

OLYMPICS 2021: Australia's gold medal chances at Tokyo Games

CLASSIC: Athletes react to 'anti-sex' beds in Olympic village

INTERESTING: Thorpe scandal back in the spotlight on eve of Olympics

The gymnast was not initially named, however reports out of the States have confirmed it to be reserve squad member, Kara Eaker.

The 18-year-old's father Mark named the gymnast as the one to test positive, with another "close contact" on the USA team also self-isolating.

He told CNN his daughter tested positive at a Team USA training camp in Inzai, east of Tokyo, but stressed that she was fully vaccinated for Covid-19 and not symptomatic.

The pair are part of the same team as USA superstar Simone Biles, who moved to the Olympic Village with the rest of the team on Monday.

Biles shared a photo of herself and a teammate at the Village but made no mention of the positive test.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

“We confirmed today that a teen athlete of the team has tested positive,” said Kimiya Kosaku, an Inzai city official.

“She has been isolated with no symptoms. The woman whose name is not disclosed arrived in Japan on July 15. Another athlete has been categorised as having close contact. She is also staying alone inside her room at their accommodation.”

It comes as Tokyo's Olympic Village was hit by a fourth coronavirus case on Monday, and major sponsor Toyota claiming it would not run any Games-related TV ads as the event struggles for support just days before the opening ceremony.

A Czech beach volleyball player became the fourth case and the third infected athlete in the Village, where thousands of competitors are living in a biosecure "bubble".

The delayed 2020 Games will officially get under way on Friday in a near-empty Olympic Stadium, with Tokyo under a coronavirus state of emergency after a spike in cases.

The Tokyo Games have been rocked by a number of Covid-19 cases less than one week before the global showpiece gets underway. Pic: Getty
The Tokyo Games have been rocked by a number of Covid-19 cases less than one week before the global showpiece gets underway. Pic: Getty

The latest Asahi Shimbun newspaper poll found a majority of respondents, 55 percent, were against holding the Games this summer, with 33 percent in favour.

It has not been a smooth final build-up for the Games, which were postponed last year, but officials will hope the tide of public opinion turns when the sports programme starts.

In a sign of the current sentiment Toyota, the world's biggest automaker, said it would not run Olympics-related TV ads, and its executives would not be present at the opening ceremony.

"Toyota officials will not attend the opening ceremony, and the chief reason behind it is there will be no spectators," Toyota spokeswoman Shiori Hashimoto told AFP.

Fewer than 1,000 Olympic officials and VIPs including sponsors will be allowed to watch the opening ceremony on Friday, according to Japanese media.

Toyota's operating officer Jun Nagata earlier told reporters it was becoming more difficult for the Olympics to strike a positive chord with the public.

"It is turning into an Olympics that cannot get understanding (from the public) in various ways," Nagata told Japanese media.

'Safe place to stay' 

Organisers insisted the Village was safe despite the coronavirus diagnosis for Czech beach volleyball player Ondrej Perusic, which follows positive tests from two South African footballers and a video analyst.

Twenty-one members of the South African men's football contingent are in isolation after being named as close contacts, disrupting preparations for their opening game on Thursday against Japan.

Tokyo 2020 spokesman Masa Takaya earlier said, before the latest cases came to light, that there had been 61 positive cases connected with the Games so far - a tiny fraction of the thousands of tests carried out.

"The IOC (International Olympic Committee) and Tokyo 2020 are absolutely clear that the Olympic Village is a safe place to stay," Takaya said.

Brian McCloskey, chairman of the Independent Expert Panel advising the IOC, said a system of "filtering" -– starting with athletes being tested before departure –- was working.

"The numbers we're seeing are actually extremely low," he said. "They're probably lower than we expected, if anything."

Athletes are tested daily at the Olympics, where they are also told to observe social distancing and wear masks unless they are competing, eating or sleeping.

When asked about the risk of a cluster in the Village, McCloskey said: "All the measures that we have in place... will reduce the risk of spreading it."

with agencies

Watch 'Mind Games', the new series from Yahoo Sport Australia exploring the often brutal mental toil elite athletes go through in pursuit of greatness:

Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting